The education, protection and expansion of Patient Rights is central to the role of the Australian Patients Association. These rights describe the rights that consumers, or someone they care for, can expect when receiving health care. They apply to all people in all places where health care is provided in Australia. This includes public and private hospitals, day procedure services, general practice and other community health services.

You can tell us stories that relate to your Patient Rights at Have Your Say.

The APA can assist with advice and direction if you feel your Patients’ Rights have been affected by using our Help Line.

One important Patient Right is support and help from a family member or friend. This is called Patient Advocacy. A Patient Advocates are often involved in protecting and enforcing patient rights. The APA can assist with information and resources to assist Patient Advocates.

What can I expect from the Australian health system?

What healthcare rights do patients have in Australia?

The Australian healthcare system has outlined certain rights in the ‘Australian Charter of healthcare rights’ to everyone who is seeking or receiving care, in all places where healthcare is provided in Australia.This includes the care provided by general practice, other community healthcare services, day procedures, and public and private hospitals.The article explains your rights and what to do if you feel they have been denied to ensure all patients and their carers in Australia receive safe, high-quality care.

What are the 7 patients’ rights?

The seven fundamental rights included in the Charter relate to access, safety, respect, communication, participation, privacy and comment.

Patients who are eligible for Medicare are entitled to free or subsidised healthcare from general practitioners and specialists as well as in hospitals which includes free treatment and as a public patient in Public hospital and subsidised medicines through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).

What are my rights?


I have a right to health care.

What this means…

I can access services to address my healthcare needs.


I have a right to receive safe and high quality care.

What this means…

I receive safe and high quality health services, provided with professional care, skill and competence.


I have a right to be shown respect, dignity and consideration.

What this means…

The care provided shows respect to me and my culture, beliefs, values and personal characteristics.


I have a right to be informed about services, treatment, options and costs in a clear and open way.

What this means…

I receive open, timely and appropriate communication about my health care in a way I can understand.


I have a right to be included in decisions and choices about my care.

What this means…

I may join in making decisions and choices about my care and about health service planning.


I have a right to privacy and confidentiality of my personal information.

What this means…

My personal privacy is maintained and proper handling of my personal health and other information is assured.


I have a right to comment on my care and to have my concerns addressed.

What this means…

I can comment on or complain about my care and have my concerns dealt with properly and promptly.

Do patients have the right to refuse treatment?

A fundamental principle of health law is an adult’s right to decide what is or is not done to their bodies which includes the right to consent to or refuse medical treatment, even when the reason for making the choice sounds irrational and failure to receive treatment will result in death.

For further information please visit Safety & Quality website